Gungrave Vol. #3 - Mania.com



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Mania Grade: A-

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Info:

  • Audio Rating: A-
  • Video Rating: B+
  • Packaging Rating: N/A
  • Menus Rating: B
  • Extras Rating: C+
  • Age Rating: 15 & Up
  • Region: 2 - Europe
  • Released By: MVM Entertainment
  • MSRP: £19.99
  • Running time: 100
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Gungrave

Gungrave Vol. #3

By Paul Jacques     August 11, 2005
Release Date: August 08, 2005


Gungrave Vol. #3
© MVM Entertainment


What They Say
An army of zombies begins a war against Millennion. Harry struggles to kill the undead while Brandon infiltrates enemy headquarters to put an end to the necrolized humans' attacks. With the zombie war over, Harry resumes his ambitions for power and love, while Brandon has creates his own sweeper team called True Grave and tries to focus forgetting his feelings for Maria. In the middle of turmoil, Big Daddy makes a significant decision?
Episodes comprise:

9. Dispute
10. Conflict
11. Heat
12. Kind

The Review!
This is one of the few series that I don’t have to force myself to watch. As such I’m eager to see how Harry & Brandon progress from gangsters in an ordinary world, to gangsters in a supernatural world.

Audio:
I listened, cycling between Japanese 5.1\ 2.0 and English 5.1 audio as each episode changed. All tracks were excellent, although the DTS was very quiet (needed the volume turning up). All tracks provided clear sound with some light use of directional sound effects. Although it has to be said that the English track has the best gun sound effects. Though the English VA did a good job, I’d recommend going with either of the Japanese tracks….. I think it’s just the way the Japanese VA’s manage to get more feeling into the words, especially Brandon’s VA, Seki Tomokazu. The narration from Seki Tomokazu for each episode’s prologue and epilogue is spell binding at times, you really feel the depression and bleakness of their lives.

Opening song is called Family and is a really good (sombre) track, very reminiscent of the lounge music you might find a modern Jazz combo playing. The closing song is called When The Sunset Turns Red and although it’s sung in Japanese (with a blue grass fiddle and Jazz funk guitar), you easily get the impression that it’s full of hope, with Brandon and Harry chasing their dreams in animation.

Video:
Quality of the transfer was top notch, with no artefacts or bleeding problems detected. The TV playback was perfect, and no problems detected on the PC this time round.

I still find some parts of the episodes a little light on the animation detail, and a tad ruff in places. There are plenty of visual elements and artistic touches to enjoy along the way. Sometimes the background are pure, other times they are grainy. In this volume some of the animation was a bit shoddily drawn in some episodes i.e. ep9 bar room scene.

Packaging:
This is a promo only disc with no box.

Menu:
The menus are static with a background image of Brandon and Blood War. The menu links themselves were placed in the centre of the screen. All the links worked quickly and no dead-ends or slow responses encountered. Although I did find the Episode menu a tad confusing in the way it had been laid out, not too sure which link was for what episode.

Extras:
We get a 15 Production stills of the characters from this first volume, plus trailers for ROD TV and Samurai Champloo.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review will contain spoilers)
Episode 9 starts Sid’s funeral: Brandon takes a little time to reflect on his life of enforcement, and realises that he is just being swept along by events, doing the bidding of others and never thinking of himself. At the end of the day he is willing to put his personal feelings aside for the good of the Family.

Meanwhile Cannon Vulcan has got an old friend out of prison (Mr Blood War) and the Lightning group recruit him in order to start striking back at the Millennion Group, and what they use to do the striking is something no one has seen before- an army of the dead.

The task of silencing this threat is given to Harry and Brandon. And Harry with his usually bravado goes and meets Cannon Vulcan and Blood War, you to show them that he knows they are up to something. The episode ends with Ballabird Lee joining the Lightning Group, and as you remember, Mr Lee is a friend of Harry…... do we have a traitor in our midst?

In the next episode Lightning start their war. And at first Millennion do not understand what it is that is killing their organisation executives, as their defences are of little use in stopping the assassinations. This puts Harry under a lot of pressure to stop Lightning’s impertinent war. As the story unfolds we realise that Harry & Brandon have a lot in common with Cannon Vulcan & Blood War. They are more alike than different, and so this war is really about personal ambition, and who it will be settled by whoever has the greater will to reach their goal. The episode ends with a cliff hanger, with both Harry and Brandon taking the fight back to lightning.

Episode 11 stars with a very nice fight; Brandon against the un-dead; Harry against Ballabird Lee and the fight is going very badly for both. In fact the whole episode is one long battle (hurray), so I won’t spoil the ending, suffice as to say that plenty of spent cartridges litter the floor by the end. And thus as one person’s ambition is buried with the past another person’s vision of the future moves onto the next level.

This episode is a real corker: Lots of action and some very poignant moments from almost every character. Even the “bad guys” had passion in their beliefs.

The final episode in this volume finds Harry on top of the world, still the same irascible killer that he always was, and now with Dr Tokioka secret necrolyze in his hip pocket. Brandon has changed: In his battle with Blood War he realised that his life (and death) belongs to Millennion. As such Brandon has now put all personal feelings behind him- his purpose is to protect and serve.

It’s not just Brandon that has changed, Maria finally realises that Brandon is not going to come for her and so her affection is turning elsewhere. In fact love is in the air for some of the main characters, as they look to their futures with eyes wide open.

In Summary:
This series just keeps getting better and better. As you are aware this anime series is told pretty much done in flashback. With this volume we come very close to finishing up the back story and bringing the narrative into the present. You want action, narrative and interesting characters- look no further.

Features
Japanese Language DTS 5.1,English Language DD 5.1,Japanese Language DD 2.0,English Subtitles,Production Art

Review Equipment
JVC 28" Pure Flat Wide Screen TV, Pioneer 454 Progressive Scan code free DVD player, Logitech Z-680 THX DD/DTS receiver & Speakers. Secondary equipment, 21” Sony Trinitron monitor, ATI 9700pro & PowerDVD v4, Creative Audigy 2 & headphones and a duck.

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